With 2008 marking fifty years of television drama on CCTV, Danwei shares with us an article from Oriental Outlook on the censoring process that determines just which dramas will be allowed to air on the television network. Danwei points out that “it seems like SARFT is to blame whenever people are upset with film and TV censorship… [but] television stations are ultimately responsible for what they broadcast, so they too employ censors to eliminate objectionable content.” CCTV has especially rigorous standards: submitted series must pass an initial screening by the director and executive editor of the Film and TV Department, followed by a detailed review by the Inspection Group. If the series is to be broadcast during prime time, then it needs to be reviewed again following any revisions. While the whole article itself is worth a read, some highlights found by Danwei:
- A ribald folk tune had to be removed from a period piece;
- The mother of a Japanese soldier in a war drama expected him to fight to his death in China, implying that the Japanese people fully supported the war;
- None of the four main characters in a drama about car racing was motivated by the love of the race
- A series in which a party secretary was accused of rape only to be cleared in the final episode could mislead viewers who didn’t watch the show all the way through to the end.
As Feng Wanyou, one of the Inspection team’s experts, tells Oriental Outlook, Chinese TV inspection is “getting more tolerant every year, because ideology and aethetics are both changing… Seven or eight years ago, gunshot wounds spurting blood, knives piercing all the way through flesh, kissing, and bare midriffs weren’t allowed, but it’s much more permissive now.”
Photo by dhammza.